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#188416 - 10/23/07 04:01 AM How to offer advice/assistance?
heidi Offline
New Here

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 1
Loc: New York, NY
I used to be a regular reader of this board many years ago when I was dating my bf who is a survivor of sexual abuse from his father (it began around age 3 for him). He was married before, and was always in long term relationships with women before me, but it wasn't until he met me that he finally felt safe enough to let his cover slip and he disclosed to me for the first time ever what happened to him growing up. No one else knew, not his ex-wife, past gf's etc. I loved him, supported him through 4 years of hell while he dredged up the past and he went from a loving person to someone angry, incredibly depressed, and ultimately he became abusive towards me. I felt as many do on this board that I could "save" him....I went about as low as a person could go with him as I put up with some really horrible treatment and ultimately I left him - 4 long years we were together.

We haven't been in touch for 2 years and he emailed me out of the blue apologizing for how he was and that he was living with someone and that his new gf desperately wants to get married and have kids. He wrote he feels trapped and starting to feel resentful of her b/c he feels that he is being asked to be someone he isn't prepared to be. He hasn't discussed his past history of abuse at all with her and I know him so damn well....I know he hasn't told her b/c he fears of the downward spiral in himself that happened when he opened the can of worms with me and what that did to him.

I want to write back to him and tell him to talk to her about all that he has been through so that she could understand better where he is at in life that might lead to more patience with re: the marriage/kids. But I don't know if this is the right advice or if I should just refrain from giving any advice and let him know I'm sorry he is going through a rough patch in his life and that is all. I'm fairly positive he didn't get any therapy and I'm probably the only damn person on this planet he has told and I want to make sure any advice or response I give him is a proper one.

I still have so many feelings of incredible sadness over our breakup....I love him so much and there wasn't a day I haven't thought of him, but I know that we are not meant to be and nothing would make me happier to know that he could really be happy. Are there such things as happy endings?


#188429 - 10/23/07 05:29 AM Re: How to offer advice/assistance? [Re: heidi]
indygal Offline

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439

there's so much here you've written - it's hard to get a handle on what appears to be an incredibly intense and emotionally difficult time for you.

my first gut reaction is to share with him what you've shared with us -

my next is how ironic it is women are often accused of seeking a man to "rescue" them - and it seems almost like your ex is seeking that in women - perhaps because he wasn't rescued as a child from his father's abuse?

i think you have to do what you think is best for you, not for him, you know? he's not part of your life now, only your past. you still have feelings because you're a loving, caring person but for him to pop up out of the blue and demand - and yes, to contact you and dump on you all his current pressures is demanding - of you your time and energy, well, that's just plain wrong.

work out what you need from this encounter and i think you'll find a suitable answer.

i'm sure others will have more suggestions also.

all the best,

my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

#188431 - 10/23/07 06:08 AM Re: How to offer advice/assistance? [Re: heidi]
dgoods Offline

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Happy endings? I would say they're certainly possible, but there's no way to guarantee one, no matter how careful you are.
It sounds like he was really feeling "stuck" at the time you left him, unable to maintain "false-normal" any longer, yet unable to seek any further help. He probably tried patching up the suit of armor again afterward, and going back to pretend-land.

Certainly, you are of course very saddened at the way things turned out. I'm getting the impression that feelings of resentment and frustration are still there for you, and you couldn't keep trying to figure out where the line between what he could and couldn't help was, at the time of break-up. You two had a special bond, that no other woman in his life shared, and that's hard for the heart to forget, that YOU were the one he trusted to tell this to.

That doesn't change the fact that your time together became increasingly unhappy. Whether he was trying to "prove" he wasn't worthy of your love, or simply refusing to move beyond the first step of telling someone, isn't important. It became unhealthy, and though you still somewhere may feel that somehow you did something wrong, or didn't truly try hard enough, you know you did everything possible, and it was beyond your control; you did what was right for you.

I'd be amazed if just seeing who the email was from didn't make your head start throbbing; in your shoes, I wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry after reading it.

As far as what his story might be? I will admit to you my life has been full of me getting myself into difficult spots, yet remaining silent until a point of no return is imminent, then panicking and thrashing around, which usually has evoked some degree of tired disgust from my friends, who have tired of reminding me to "put the brakes on" before it gets to a point of crisis. You have every right, both to want to help him, and to be resentful of someone who (however unintentionally) hurt you, then had nothing to say to you for two years, then "pops up out of the blue" saying "Help me, help me, what do i do?"
He may have apologized, but is he truly aware of all you've gone through for 6 years since you met him? I'm a random stranger, but to me it's pretty obvious you (mostly) accept the outcome, certainly love him as a person, and want what's best.

It sounds like he's set himself up for another disaster, intentional or not. I feel you need to express YOUR feelings honestly to him, without worrying about whether or not he'll react well. Being a CSA survivor doesn't give me the right to force everyone to tiptoe carefully around me 24/7.

Showing him clearly how much his abuse-related behavior has affected you over time, may cause him to consider the long-term consequences of his behavior now. He's probably been smiling and nodding along for a while now, being too scared of being abandoned to speak up, but increasingly unable to be the Prince Charming I'm sure he was when they met each other. The ability to keep "faking it" will be much weaker, since he's already been honest about his true inner life once already.

Why not, just as a thought, consider either copying and sending him your post, or pointing him to this page (he may just want to sign up, if he's tired of the vicious circles). Your being "the sole holder of the truth" isn't helping him, or you; giving strength to the feeling of "I can't, or shouldn't, say anything" hurts the situation more. Abusers teach CSA victims to minimize and deny, to lie to ourselves, and others, for them.

It doesn't have to be that way- but ultimately, he is not your responsibility, and never really was. Remember, these are just words on a screen; my advice is worth exactly what you paid for it- You must do what is right for YOU.

I hope you found this helpful somehow, and wish you and your ex the best.

PS Amusing observation: I took so long with this, that upon first posting, I see indygal had already responded since i started writing, with some similar thoughts- she's just better at saying in 50 words what takes me 5 pages

Edited by dgoods (10/23/07 06:19 AM)
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

#188443 - 10/23/07 10:43 AM Re: How to offer advice/assistance? [Re: dgoods]
sweet-n-sour Offline

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Heidi:

Hi and welcome to this forum. I just wanted to add to what both Indy Girl and dgoods have stated. You need to take care of your own emotional well being in this. Although entering into a committed relationship (meaning ex and the woman your ex is currently living with) is certainly doomed for some rough times without him offering her a better picture of what she is really signing up for, he has ownership of this issue and all of his issues surrounding his csa.

It is often so very difficult to love someone and watch them go through something so painful. It says a lot about you as a person that he was able to open up to you while you were together. As much as a survivor may want everything to return to before the disclosure (because of the horrible currents of pain) once those words are put out there, the only way out is straight through it in courageous steps forward.

Best wishes,

"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

#188460 - 10/23/07 04:37 PM Re: How to offer advice/assistance? [Re: sweet-n-sour]
mmac Offline

Registered: 09/21/07
Posts: 107
Loc: PA
I too left my BF after 3 1/2 yrs of him running from his past...
If he called me today and tried to take advantage of me again by dumping his issues in my lap; I would gently remind him that although I would always consider him my friend, Friendship means honesty and Honestly, he needs professional help. He is being very unfair to his "new soon to be ex" and of course to himself.
Obviously, he counts on your compassion to be able to pop back up into your life after 2 yrs of nothing, but that certainly does not give him the right to do so.
You must think of yourself and the life you now live. Remember how hard it was to try and repair your heart after the break up?
I know I would want to do the "right thing" too, however, that is very different for both of you. He needs to face his demons and get on with his recovery (or begin it). You are in your own recovery (2 yrs now) and I would pray that your compassion does not jeopardize all the good work you've done for yourself. Grab a book on co-dependence and see if this doesn't spark some recognition....Amazing how many partners are affected!!! I know you loved this man very much...he obviously believed it too, BUT
email him the site link, the name of a few good books and wish him success in the future with his new soon to be ex.
THEN GIVE THIS MAN TO GOD and let the miracle begin.
My prayers are so with you now...Be strong..

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results."

I cannot take your steps, but I can walk beside you, if you'll let me.


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